On his visit to the United States, Germany's new minister of economics and technology, Dr. Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, gave his speech, "Challenges and Opportunities in Times of Economic Turmoil," at the Institute on March 17, 2009.
Speaking to a packed room, Minister zu Guttenberg noted that by committing 4 percent of GDP to fiscal stimulus, Germany is contributing significantly to overcoming the global economic crisis. The German fiscal package includes public investment to promote infrastructure, education and training, and includes cuts in taxes and welfare contributions. Germany has also given $130 billion for loan guarantees to help stabilize lending to firms in good standing. While this stimulus will inevitably run up the fiscal deficit in the short term, the Minister stressed that Germany remains firmly committed to keeping its public finances on a sustainable long-term path. He also stressed that coordinated action through the G-20 and other venues is critical in responding to a global challenge of a magnitude not seen since 1945.
Minister zu Guttenberg's visit to the Institute was arranged in cooperation with the Hanns-Seidel-Foundation and the Representative of German Industry and Trade. Minister zu Guttenberg was first elected to the German Parliament in 2002 and assumed his current post in the government of Chancellor Angela Merkel in February.